SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A company that has proposed running hundreds of miles of carbon dioxide pipeline was one of the platinum sponsors of Gov. Kristi Noem’s inaugural events on Jan. 7.

Summit Carbon Solution’s permit request for the underground CO2 pipeline is being reviewed by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. It’s a controversial project that has drawn hundreds in opposition. Supporters, including the ethanol plants that will partner with the project, have spoken in favor of the proposed pipeline. The project would capture CO2 at ethanol plants and carry it through a roughly 2,000-mile pipeline system into North Dakota where Summit officials have said the CO2 will be buried.

Ryan Sheldon, who served as the media coordinator for the inaugural event, said sponsors often seek out the committee.

“There isn’t any direct link to any conflict,” Sheldon said of Summit Carbon’s sponsorship. A sponsorship means the company is helping the event itself, he said. No taxpayer money pays for the event, Sheldon said.

The potential use of eminent domain has been raised by those in opposition to the pipeline. Some lawmakers have also said eminent domain as it relates to the proposed CO2 pipeline could be a topic in the upcoming legislative session.

The proposed CO2 pipeline has also generated lawsuits in Iowa and South Dakota.

Several lawmakers and as well as Chris Nelson of the PUC were at the inaugural event.

When asked if a business that has an active permit request with the PUC was unusual, Sheldon said his opinion, is Summit Carbon’s sponsorship is typical of businesses who do business or want to do business in the state.

“(Businesses) look for opportunities to get active…,” Sheldon said. Businesses want to show they are engaged and involved in the state, he said.

Summit Carbon Solutions has donated to projects in communities in Iowa and South Dakota.

In a statement to KELOLAND News, Summit Carbon said the South Dakota inaugural event is not the only one the company was involved in.

“(Involvement) includes inaugural events in multiple states across the Midwest where in many instances funds are used to support charitable causes,” the Summit statement said. The company has sponsored or donated to hundreds of events, charitable organizations, civic groups and more, the Summit statement said.

Summit Carbon Solutions was listed as a platinum sponsor along with Altria, Avera Health, Black Hills Corporation and POET.

On Jan. 5, the South Dakota PUC set evidentiary hearings on the proposed Summit CO2 pipeline for Sept. 11-22, 2023.

In Minnesota, the state’s public utilities commission ordered an environmental impact statement on a portion of Summit’s proposed pipeline in the state.

The Iowa Public Utilities Board heard oral arguments about the proposed CO2 pipeline on Dec. 13. The issue about a requirement from the utilities board for safety documents from Summit Carbon Solutions.